How to Prepare for Your First Physiotherapy Appointment

Written by Chris Bradley

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If you’re about to attend your first physiotherapy appointment or thinking about scheduling one you might be wondering what is physio is all about, or what can a physio do for you; it’s completely natural to feel a little unsure.

But don’t worry! With some simple preparations, you can make the most of your first session, kickstart your physiotherapy journey, and book a physio appointment in London.

This guide will take you through the steps for your initial physiotherapy appointment, tell you what to anticipate during the session, and what comes next.

Before Your Appointment

Preparing for your first physiotherapy appointment involves a few key steps. Here’s what you need to do: 

Prepare Questions

Ask questions to your physiotherapist

Before stepping into your physiotherapist’s office, jot down any questions you may have.

Amid a new environment, it’s easy to forget things, and having a list ensures you leave your first appointment with clarity and confidence.

For example, these can include “How long does a physio session last?” or “How many physio sessions do I need?” – physiotherapists are often asked various things, so don’t be afraid to ask.

What Do You Need to Bring with You?

Before you arrive, gather together essential documents and information:

  • If you’ve been referred by a GP or specialist, bring the referral to give a clear overview of your medical history.
  • If you have scans from previous appointments, bring them to aid in the assessment.
  • Bring the list of questions you’ve prepared.

What Clothing is Best for Physiotherapy?

Choose your attire wisely:

  • Select clothing that allows your physiotherapist to see and access the relevant areas easily.
  • Opt for comfortable attire that won’t hinder your movements, especially during stretching exercises, and won’t exacerbate conditions like hip pain.
  • If you have any clothing preferences or concerns, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your physiotherapist. We understand that you might have questions like, “Do I have to take my clothes off for a physio appointment?” At bodytonic clinic, we encourage open communication, and we’ll do our best to address any concerns or questions you may have. Your comfort is our priority.

Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration and a light meal or snack before your appointment can positively impact your physical performance during any stretches your physiotherapist might recommend. It also helps you stay focused and energised.

During Your Appointment

Physiotherapy Appointment

Now that you’re prepared, here’s what you can expect during your first physiotherapy appointment:

Turn Up Early for Your Appointment

Arriving ten to fifteen minutes early not only allows you to relax before the session but also gives you time to complete any necessary forms or paperwork. 

A stress-free entry into your appointment sets a positive tone for the session.

What Questions Will You Be Asked?

Your initial appointment is an assessment where your physiotherapist will:

  • Inquire about the details of your ailment, including how and when it occurred.
  • Assess you physically, testing strength, flexibility, gait, and more to diagnose your issue.
  • Collaborate with you to create a personalised treatment plan, including the frequency of future physio appointments and expected recovery time.

Be Open and Honest

Building trust is crucial:

  • Share openly about your pain and any fears you may have.
  • Be honest about your goals and expectations for the physiotherapy sessions.
  • Remember to ask any questions you have (e.g. how long is a physio appointment, what does a physiotherapist do).

After Your Appointment

Physiotherapy Appointment

Post-appointment, ensure you’re set for ongoing success.

Walk away from your first physio appointment with a clear understanding of:

  • Your treatment plan.
  • A tailored exercise program designed by your physiotherapist to meet your specific needs.

Drink Plenty of Water

Stay hydrated to relieve any soreness post-stretching exercises. Soreness is normal and should subside within 24 to 48 hours.

Book Your Next Appointment

Plan for continued progress:

  • Schedule your follow-up appointments two to three weeks in advance to secure a convenient date and time.
  • Opt for the same physiotherapist for consistency in your treatment.

Treatments After Initial Appointment

In the sessions following your initial physiotherapy appointment, your physiotherapist will tailor the treatment plan to address your specific injury and needs. This may include:

Manual Therapy Techniques

During these sessions, your physiotherapist will use hands-on techniques to manipulate and mobilise joints and soft tissues. This can aid in improving mobility, reducing pain, and enhancing overall function.

Acupuncture

If deemed appropriate for your condition, your physiotherapist may incorporate acupuncture, a practice involving the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to alleviate pain, stimulate healing, and improve energy flow.

Prescribed Exercises

Your physiotherapist will design a personalised exercise program tailored to your condition and goals. These exercises aim to strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and contribute to the overall rehabilitation process.

Stretching

Stretching exercises may be incorporated to enhance flexibility, reduce muscle tightness, and improve the range of motion in specific areas affected by your injury.

Soft Tissue Massage

This hands-on technique involves applying pressure to the soft tissues, such as muscles and tendons, to alleviate tension, improve circulation, and promote healing in the affected areas.

Joint Mobilisation

Your physiotherapist may perform joint mobilisation, a gentle, manual therapy technique aimed at restoring normal joint movement, reducing pain, and improving function.

Shockwave Therapy

In certain cases, shockwave therapy may be employed to stimulate healing in tissues. This non-invasive treatment involves the application of acoustic waves to the affected area, promoting blood flow and accelerating the body’s natural healing processes.

These treatments are selected based on a thorough assessment of your progress, ensuring that the physiotherapy sessions continue to address your evolving needs and contribute to your overall recovery.

Physiotherapists are dedicated to working with you, ensuring your comfort and providing the most appropriate treatment for your injury. 

If you have any questions about your booked appointment or would like to discuss your concerns before booking, feel free to contact bodytonic clinic

Your physiotherapy journey is a collaborative effort, and with the right preparation and communication, you’ll be on your way to recovery.